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Narkal- Doi- shorshe Ilish Bhapa/ Steamed Hilsa in Coconut -mustard-yogurt gravy/Ilish Bhape




I had a lot of thing in mind to write about. But my daughter is going to be home soon. And I want to be with her when she is back from her child minder. Dilemma of a working mother.
But hay! I am not leaving you high and dry . Here is the recipe for one of the best fish on earth. Ilish or Hisla. The fish no Bengali can resist. The silver shiny fish is the king of all. Taste, texture, and flavour nothing compares to it. So for today’s special dinner, I made a very simple but traditional hilsa recipe, Narkal- Doi- shorshe Ilish Bhapa/ Steamed Hilsa in Coconut -mustard-yogurt gravy

The ingredients are very simple and easily available. Fresher the fish, tastier will be the dish. but living in UK, i had to do with frozen one, which didn't taste bad either. The recipe calls for black and white mustard paste. To make black and white mustard paste, soak the mustard seeds for at least an hour in water and grind with a pinch of salt and green chilies.

Ingredients
6 pieces Ilish/Hilsa Fish
4 tbsp Mustard (mix yellow & black mustard seeds in equal proportion)
100 gm Fresh Yogurt
½ cup grated coconuts
4 table spoon Mustard oil (I was extra generous. I love the smell of mustard oil)
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Few slit green chilies (as per taste)
Method
1.     Soak the mustard seed for 1 hour ( 20 mins minimum)
2.     Mix green chilli, mustard seeds and coconut together
3.     Make a paste in the blender
4.     Immediately pour the mixture and add some salt (you can blend it with salt. I avoid adding salt in the machine )
5.     Beat the yogurt till smooth and mix it with the mustard mixture.
6.     Mix turmeric with the mustard and yoghurt mixture
7.     Add half the oil with the above spice paste
8.     Rub  little mustard oil and salt on the fish
9.     Pour the spice mix on the fish and marinate is well
10.  Rub little oil on a frying pan
11.   Arrange the fish and pour the entire Coconut -mustard-yogurt masala paste on them
12.   Sprinkle some more mustard oil and arrange some more green chilli for aroma
13.   Now cover the pan and cook it on very low flame
14.   Cook for 15/20 mins or till oil separates.

15.   Serve with boiled rice and Gondhoraj lebu! 

Bengali Gota Peyanj e Shada Mutton Korma/ Mutton Korma with whole Onion/ Mutton Korma/ Bangladeshi Mutton korma with shallot



It is 5 in the morning and I am wide awake. My body is still on Kolkata time zone. Not a bad thing actually. I get to have my morning cuppa peacefully before the little one is up and demands every second of my time. Some time I actually like it. A little time to myself. I work almost 24 hours. Yes, you read it correct! 24 hours. Even when I sleep I work as I still breastfeed my little one. Throughout the night I keep checking if her small body is covered properly, if she doesn’t stir for an hour I check if she is breathing alright, I touch her face to see that her log hairs which she refuges to cut are not covering her eyes and then I touch her to feel her body against mine, to smell her body! And then there is the older baby boy to look after who is always out of duvet. This is all while I am sleeping.

I went on a mental health training few months back. There was one section on ‘looking after self’. One exercise to start the section was to list the works/things/activities we have done from waking up till we came inside the training room at 9am. I listed 28 activities or work between 6am to 9am. Let’s not even go in to the work that I do rest of the day. You get the picture I assume about my day.
I work reduced hours on Thursday. I get two hours of free time to myself. I zealously keep that time to me, to spend just the way I want to. I don’t take calls, I don’t go online, I do not meet anyone, I hate R coming back from work early to spend that time with me and I do not pick my dotty early. That is my time to spend just the way I want with myself. And no, I have no guilt feeling about it. I love it. I deserve it. And I am worth it and more!

Is there any one like me? I am sure there are! Would love to know about your’ my time’?  What do you do with your ‘ my time’

I am using my morning ‘my time ‘to write this recipe which has been sitting on my hard drive for two months now. Again a recipe from my mother’s kitchen. Very easy to make, takes very few ingredients and I received some amazing review about the recipe from two people who ordered it from me.  I will recommend that you give this recipe a change -at least once. And if you are not too inclined to cooking I can always cook for you.



Here is the recipe for Gota Peyanj e  Shada Mutton Korma/ Mutton Korma with whole Onion/ Mutton Korma/ Bangladeshi Mutton korma with shallot. I used potato so that my dotty can eat. but it is not actually part of the recipe.


Ingredients:

1kg Mutton
1/2 cup white Onion paste (white onion is used to keep the colour white/creamish of the dish, but you can use red too. Should not change the taste really)
1 and ½ cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp Ginger paste
15/20 small onion whole (shallots can be used as well)
1/2 cup white oil
1/4 cup sour yoghurt
1/4 cup sweet yoghurt (I used homemade sweet yoghurt. Otherwise use sugar with yoghurt as per your taste)
6/7 cardamom
1 inch long cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper powder (use black if that’s what you have at home)
1 tsp rose water (optional)
1/4  cup ghee ( optional. I did not use it but my mother did and she thinks that it make a lot of difference in taste. I worry about my heart hence do not use ghee in my cooking. I am all for good food with less grease, well  as much as possible)
1 tbsp lemon juice
4/5 green chilli (I used but my mother recipe doesn’t have chilli)
Salt as per taste




Method:
1.       Wash the mutton and marinate it with ginger, garlic , salt and lemon juice
2.       Keep it aside in fridge for 4/5 hours, if possible over night
3.       Heat oil and ghee ( if using) in a heavy bottom pan
4.       Fry the sliced onion till they are brown
5.       Add the marinated mutton to the fried onion and slow cook till mutton is little tender. Make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It should not be more that 10/15 mins
6.       Add the onion paste and slow cook the mutton. Sprinkle water ( very very little) in case the mutton is sticking at the bottom of the pan
7.       Add sour and sweet yoghurt, cinnamon and cardamom and slow cook ( kosha or bhuna process, if you know what I mean by slow cooking)
8.       Add little water and cook it till mutton is tender
9.       Add rose water ( optional) and green chillies (optional)
10.   Skin the white small onions and add to the mutton. Cook till they are tender yet retains shape
11.   Serve with white pulao or rice
12.   This dish compliments a dinner/lunch where the menu has a spicy item, as this is mild, aromatic and textured.  


Chingri Begun Bahar/ Begun Chringri / chingri bata diye Begun/ Aubergine cooked with mashed Prawn



Happy New Year to all of you! Well we are already in the middle of the month of January 2017

It’s been a while that I have posted something on my blog. I was away in Kolkata visiting home, spending time with my ma, brother, father and rest of the extended family and friends. And I was creating memories for my daughter. I did plan to write at least two post from Kolkata and a guest post from my mother. But nothing really mattered once I was at home. My heart belonged with my loved ones and I didn’t want to share with any one: not even with you. Hope you understand.

2016: well what to say about the year that is gone by! But does a year really matter? Aren’t they just chronology? What matters is the memories that we have created, memories that we carry in our heart. I was very sad on the last few days on the year: George Michael died. I grew up listening to him. 

I hated it for many things. I loved it for many things. I lost friends, lost faith and lost my belief in people one more time! Got hurt by friends and family, closed heart to people who mattered and opened to others and paved way for new. I started Magic in the oven: my baking endeavour and started to write the blog again. I started to take order for food and cakes as a hobby. My dotty gave me so much love that it made up for all the shortfalls. I, once again realised that I am capable enough to stay away from things that rotted my spirit.
Yes that’s what I took away from the past few months of 2016. That life has its own way of shaping. It takes some and gives more! Like sea waves. And that realisation was liberating. I was less angry and expected less. I could deal with hurt without getting in to the triangle. Once again I realised that only person who could love and give me more than ever is me. And of course my dotty.

I grew a year older, happier and more confident that life is short, cruel, hard yet beautiful.
Happy everyday everyone. Live it!

Now to the point of the recipe. This is a dish I made on 14th of December 2016 with the intention of putting it on my blog immediately. But didn’t get time. You know sometime when you hear about a dish, you can feel it in your mouth. This dish is like that. When I heard about it from my mother, who was trying out this one from internet, I knew this is going to be awesome. I have full faith in her. And this was. I cannot say how wonderful this dish is. If any one of you are fan of prawn I personally will recommend this dish. This is a dish from Bong mom’s cook book by Sangeeta. My mother tried it and made little changes.I mixed and match both the recipe and made my own.  I would call it Chingri bata diye Begun or Aubergine cooked with mashed Prawn. Sangeeta di called is Chingri Begun Bahar

Here is the recipe for Chingri bata diye Begun



Ingredients:
1 large Begun/Aubergine
15 medium sized prawn (fresh ones)
1 & 1/2 cups of chopped onion
1 tsp Garlic paste
1 medium tomato
Green chilli (as per your taste)
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1 tbsp Cumin powder
1 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Mustard seed
1/4 tsp Methi seed
1 tsp lemon juice


Method:
1.     Chop aubergine in thin slices.
2.     Soak in salt water for 20-30 minutes.
3.     Drain water and fry the aubergine and set aside.

4.     Lightly sauté the prawn with salt and turmeric powder


5.     Fry the prawns and then make a coarse paste
6.     Fry the onions till golden brown.
7.     Add cumin, coriander, chilli, ginger and garlic paste to the onion and fry for some time
8.     The add the chopped tomatoes and fry till totatoes are mushed up
9.     Now  make a paste of the onion and spice mix and set aside
10.  Heat some more oil in the fry pan. Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp of Mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp of Methi seeds
11.  When the spices start sputtering and getting fragrant add the onion and tomato masala paste
12.  Fry till oil separates
13.  Add the prawn paste and  fry till oil separates



14.  Add the aubergine and salt to taste
15.  Coo for few minute or until cooked.

16.  Garnish with lemon juice and serve with rice. 






Chicken Momos




Winter is a killer here. It makes me depressed specially on a Sunday evening. I have been trying to keep myself occupied on Sundays now so that I avoid being depressed. (So few of us talk about depression openly isn’t it! But we should, maybe in some other post)
Cooking is very therapeutic and I enjoy it. Now with so many people requesting food from me it’s another kind of motivation. It’s nice to be recognised for my cooking actually. Never thought about it!!! Why???

Today, I wanted to make some chicken momos. Momos have a special space in our heart. It takes us back to Delhi- out student life, our joint life.-life that we shared-R,S and me. Three best friends forever! Every time we have momos we talk about our life in Delhi.


We always did everything together. Well most of it! I and R were seeing each other and to set the record correct R was not double timing S. This one we did separately. We had such fun on this account. Rest, we were always together. My hostel announcement always used to be A19 and B52, visitor for you. There, one man waiting to meet two girls, even on a rainy day when rest of the hostel was submerged in water. I can still hear teasing we had to endure from rest of hostel mates. On that day we actually went out in waist deep water for Ice-cream in mother dairy. We all had banana lolly. Those were the days!



We mostly used to walk to everywhere we went. Those days we were pretty tight on money. Only exception used to be going to Kamla Nagar for momo’s. We three went by rickshaw. Eating momos were special hence needed special mode of travel. Now I wonder how they managed to pull us. R was never known to be thin. S and I were. S still is!  

We used to go to momo’s place and wait to order. It used to be like never ending five minute. And we use to order a plate of momo for the three of us. 8 of them came in a plate! We used to wait, salivating on the thought of eating momos. Every time we eat that, our usual promise used to be ‘when we have money, someday, when we have money we will have one plate each’.

We did go back to Kamala Nagar in 2012, we had momos, and we had one plate each. What we didn’t have is the fun that we used to have sharing the momos.

It was not the momos, what was fun is that we shared it with some of the few people who loved us conditionally. It was about the friendship we shared and still share! It was also about enjoying and valuing what little we had. Now with money we lost it! We can buy three plates of momos but not the same happiness, the taste, the waiting and the salivating! How sad is that!

My making momos is incomplete without talking about R and S.

Here is raising a momos toast to us and our friendship. Momos will always be special.

(By the way momos tasted almost perfect said R who is now my partner.)

  




Ingredient for filling:  


2 Chicken breast and thigh ground with blender at home
1 full white onion 
1 tsp of grated ginger 
1 tsp of grated garlic 
½ tsp of white pepper 
1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
Green Chili for sauce
2 teaspoon soy sauce

Ingredient for Dough:  

2 cups of all-purpose wheat flour
About 1 cups of warm water

A little bit of cooking oil to grease the steamer
Chilli oil to serve
Chicken soup as accompaniment


Directions:

1.       To make the stuffing, add all the ingredients listed above in a big bowl and mix it thoroughly.
2.      Put about 2 cups of flour in a bowl, add a little oil and slowly add  warm water
3.      Mix the flour and water very well by hand and keep adding water until you make a fairly smooth ball of dough.
4.      Knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible.
5.      Leave your dough in the pot with the lid on while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, or put it in a plastic bag.
6.      Now the tricky part which I am not very good at, place the dough on a board and use a rolling pin to roll it out quite thinly. It should not be so thin that you can see through it when you pick it up, nor should it be quite as thick
7.      After you have rolled out the dough, you will need to cut it into little circles for each momo.
8.      The easiest way to do this is turn a small cookie upside down to cut out circles about the size of the palm of your hand.This way, you don’t have to worry about making good circles of dough because each one will be the same size and shape.
9.      Now, you begin by holding the flat circular dough in your left hand and putting a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the middle of the dough.
10.   Then you have to fold your circle of dough in half, covering over the filling.
11.    Now press together the two edges of the half circle so that there is no open edge in your half circle, and the filling is completely enclosed in the dough.
12.   You will now have the basic half-moon shape, and you can make your momo pretty by pinching and folding along the curved edge of the half circle.
13.   Start at one tip of the half-moon, and fold over a very small piece of dough, pinching it down.
14.   Continue folding and pinching from the starting point, moving along the edge until you reach the other tip of the half-moon.
15.   Finally, you should boil water in a large steamer
16.   Oil the steamer surface lightly before putting the momos in, so they won’t stick to the metal, then place as many as you can without touching each other.
17.   Add the momos after the water is already boiling.
18.   Steam the momos for about 10 minutes.
19.   Serve them piping hot, with chilli oil and chicken soup





Dimer Do Piyaanja/ Anda Do Pyaza/ Bengali Egg Do Pyaza




Finally it seems like winter has set in. No complaint though. We had lovely summer hence do not mind the grey winter mornings and early nights. In fact sitting in my office overlooking the garden the rainy day seem very romantic. Keralan filter coffee in my hand. 30 mins respire from a work that most days leave me shattered -nature, coffee, this garden, romance with nature and my kitchen are my only breather.

Thinking about my kitchen- kitchen!! Yes the space where I pour my love to create magic. Clichés right?! Actually not. To me food is a form of art that most people understands. I believe that every cook in every household is an artist in their own right. They add their own emotion, their own lotion potion, their own story, past, present and aspiration.  Have you ever noticed how taste of same food varies from one hand to another? Amazing isn’t it! We add Love!

My kitchen off late has become my ground for economic activity. Many of you, my blog followers, my friends and those of you who keep motivating me to go on, have started to order food from me. It’s been some time which I thought eventually will stop. But to my amazement, it is growing, I am growing. My kitchen is no longer just my kitchen!

Now, it is part of your life too.   I thank you all for taking the next  step…For me, with me! Making me part of your life, giving me the opportunity to take my story to your dining table and stomach. Doesn’t they say, best way to one’s heart is through their stomach!

Oh, I need to look at the clock! And I don’t want to as I know it will only remind me that my lunch is over.
Here is a recipe for simple Dimer Do Piyaanja/ Anda Do Pyaza/ Bengali Egg Do Pyaza. I am very fond of egg. 

And a simple meal of rice and egg on a winter night is bliss.


Today I am lazy and this one is for all those lazy souls. Cook it!




Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serve for: 2

Ingredients:
4 Egg boiled
2 Onion medium size finely chopped
1 Onion finely sliced
1 tbsp Garlic grated
1 tsp Ginger Paste
½ tsp Cumin Powder
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
¼ tsp Garam masala Powder
Salt (to taste)
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
Sugar (to taste)
4 tbsp Mustard Oil
cup Water as required
Chopped Coriander for garnishing

Method:
1.      Boil the egg. Add a pinch of salt into the water. Boil for 10 minutes on a high flame. When done, peel the skin of the egg gently.
2.      Marinate the boiled eggs with salt and turmeric powder.
3.      In a pan put 1 tbsp of mustard oil. When the oil is heated slightly fry the boiled eggs and put them aside.
4.      Add rest of the oil and heat.
5.      Now add chopped onion and fry for a while on a medium heat.
6.      Then add grated garlic and ginger paste and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
7.      Add salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder and red chilli powder into water and make a paste. Add to the pan gravy and mix well.
8.      After all the spices are cooked, put the fried eggs into the gravy.
9.      Add sliced onion and give a stir.
10.   While the gravy is becoming dry, add 1/2 cup of water and cook until the gravy leaves oil.
11.   When its done, add garam masala powder and sugar. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
12.   Garnish with chopped Coriander.



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